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Monday, June 16, 2014

Casino visitors don't follow stereotypes, survey shows | TribLIVE

Casino visitors don't follow stereotypes, survey shows | TribLIVE

Casino visitors don't follow stereotypes, survey shows

About Mark Gruetze
Mark Gruetze 412-320-7838
Administrative Editor
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Mark Gruetze has been a recreational gambler for more than 30 years, focusing on blackjack, video poker and poker. He is administrative editor of the Tribune-Review. 
Money trail
Statewide slot players' loss for week ended June 8: $44.11 million, down from $46.52 million in comparable week last year.
Statewide slot payout rate since July 1: 89.90 percent; for every $100 bet, machines return an average of $89.90
High and low payout rates: 90.75 percent at Lady Luck Nemacolin, Fayette County; 89.21 percent at Penn National near Harrisburg
Rivers: 89.69 percent payout; weekly slot revenue $5.2 million, down from $5.29 million last year
Meadows: 89.92 percent; weekly revenue $4.33 million, down from $4.45 million
Presque Isle: 89.45 percent; weekly revenue $2.5 million, down from $2.83 million
Lady Luck Nemacolin: 90.75 percent payout; weekly revenue $535,663; not open last year
Source: Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
Four Western Pennsylvania players finished in the money last week at World Series of Poker events in Las Vegas.
Poker pro Josh Brikis of Murrysville cashed twice. He got $8,746 for finishing 58th among 541 players in a 6-handed No Limit Hold 'Em tournament with a $5,000 buy-in, and he won $7,805 for finishing 20th among 389 players in a $3,000 Hold 'Em shootout. In shootouts, only one player from each table advances to the next round. Nicholas Immekus of Jefferson Hills just missed the money in the $5,000 6-Handed Hold 'Em event. He went out in 63rd place, and the top 60 got paid.
Manh Nguyen of Homestead won $4,110 for finishing 82nd of 1,594 players in a $1,500 Hold 'Em event. Fred Rossi of Clairton won $2,059 for finishing 149th of 2,043 players in a $1,000 Hold 'Em tournament. Gregory Worner of Erie won $1,749 for finishing 149th of 1,473 players in a Turbo Hold 'Em tournament. A turbo tournament has faster-than-usual increases in blinds and antes.
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By Mark Gruetze 

Published: Sunday, June 15, 2014, 9:00 p.m.Updated 11 hours ago

People who enjoy casinos are a lot like everyone else, according to a new study.
“Casino visitors are a portrait of the American electorate,” Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association, says during a conference call. “They're well-educated, middle-class voters and homeowners who regularly attend religious services, and most are ages 21 to 59, the target audience local businesses are trying to reach.”
The association, which represents commercial casinos, conducts an annual survey about gambling attitudes and habits. The 2014 results were released last week as the first major initiative in the association's “Get to Know Gaming” campaign, which aims to build a case for reducing taxes on casinos and streamlining government regulations involving gambling. Pennsylvania's 55 percent tax rate on slot revenue is part of what Freeman calls government's “tax and torture” approach to the casino industry.
Democratic pollster Mark Mellman, CEO of the Mellman Group, and Republican pollster Glen Bolger, founder and partner of Public Opinion Strategies, conducted the survey in May. It has a margin of error of 3.1 percent.
Many findings bolster the association's push to ease the burden on casinos. The survey finds that 87 percent of the public say gambling is an acceptable activity; That is two points higher than last year and the highest such rating on record.
It shows that 48 percent of the public have a favorable view of the casino industry, while 24 percent see it as unfavorable and 27 percent have no opinion. Casinos get high marks as a business: 59 percent say they help the local economy and 74 percent say they create jobs; 26 percent say casino have a negative impact on the area vs. 46 percent who see a positive impact and 14 percent who see no impact.
Beyond the political fodder, the survey provides insights about the people who rub elbows at the slot machines and blackjack tables.
Bolger says the findings shoot down stereotypes such as grandma spending her last pennies of the month at the slot machine.
“Casino visitors really are a pretty good reflection of America, overall,” he says, ticking off these statistics:
• Nearly two of three casino visitors own a home
• Most are 21 to 59 years old
• A plurality make $60,000 to $99,000 a year, and 70 percent consider themselves middle class
• A majority went to college, and 46 percent have a degree, which is 16 points above the general public
• They are religious. Two-thirds attend church, and one of every four consider themselves evangelical or born-again Christian
By far, slots remain the most popular game, with 48 percent saying machines are their favorite form of casino gambling;. Blackjack is second at 14 percent. Poker, roulette, video poker and craps follow, all with 4 to 6 percent of gamblers ranking them as their favorite.
However, slots aren't the most common form of gambling. That distinction belongs to state lotteries, which have far worse odds of winning than slots or any casino table game.
Mellman says the popularity of gambling seems to be growing among young adults.
About 37 percent of casino visitors are 21 to 39 years old, he says, while that age group accounts for about 26 percent of those who don't go to casinos.
“That younger demographic is more likely to go to casinos,” he says.
Freeman says young adults help fuel the increasing acceptance of gambling.
The percentage of people with unfavorable views of gambling and casinos drops significantly among Americans younger than 49.
“The acceptance, and really the embracing, of gaming is greater than ever,” he says.
Mark Gruetze is administrative editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7838


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